Tagged: Ryan Shealy

Royals Pains and Trades, Misconceptions, and a Diamond in the Rough

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ryan braun face.jpg

When
the Kansas City Royals released Ryan Braun on
November 17th, I thought of a lot of things: 
“That’s unfair!” “Jeez Dayton,
you have done it again”, and finally “Who will be the brilliant GM who signs
this minor league free agent?”  Since
Braun has been a FA for less than a week, he hasn’t been signed yet, but any GM
should take a look at Braun.  I wouldn’t
say that he would be my pick for the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year (Nelson
Cruz anyone?), but Braun is an obvious guy who could turn out to be a diamond
in the rough.  But hey, this wouldn’t be
the first time I have
seemingly
started blabbing
away
about
an unknown little pitcher.


ryan braun.jpg

Lets
take a look at Braun’s career statistics shall we?  A 1.06 ERA in AAA?  Only Jason
Bulger
can beat that.  The catch is
that he did what he did in 2007, and missed all of 2008 due to undergoing right
elbow surgery.  Maybe he should look
into Dr. Mike
Marshall’s school
.

 

Anyway,
after dominating in Omaha to start 2007, Braun got called up to the Royals and
struggled, displaying a 6.64 ERA in 26 games. 
He was 26 then, but now he’s 28 and it’s time for him to prove to
everyone in baseball that he is not a Four-A player.  I believe Braun will be a good pitcher next year, and I
don’t see any reason why Braun cannot bring a little of his dominance from the
minors to the bigs.  I’m preparing to
applaud the GM who signs Braun.  I may
be at a crossroads though, considering I have bashed so many GMs on this blog
before (ex.
ex.
ex.). 

 

I
really hope I am not jinxing Ryan.  What
if nobody signs him?  I guess he will
just sign with an independent team and I’ll probably just praise the GM of that
team. 

 

Speaking
of independent ball, it makes me sick when people refer to non-affiliated
baseball as “minor league baseball”. 
It’s not minor league baseball!  Minor
league basebal
l is when that team is affiliated with a major league
franchise.  Independent baseball
is a professional league (where players get paid), but is non-affiliated.

 

Another
misconception about independent baseball is that it is at a lower level than
the lowest level of the minor leagues. 
That’s not true at all.  Take Matt LeCroy
for example.  He played in the major
leagues for eight years, and was an important part of the Twins teams between
2002 and 2005.  But last year he played
for the non-affiliated Lancaster Barnstormers. 
Does that mean he isn’t good enough to play rookie ball?  No. 
The Barnstormers pay much better than what a team will offer a free
agent to play in Double-A and if you watch a ‘Stormers game it be at a quality
better than that of AA. 

LancasterBarnstormers.gif

I have to
imagine LeCroy didn’t get any teams that could offer him a roster spot in AAA,
so he signed with Lancaster.   The
Barnstormers of course, are part of the Atlantic League, the premier
independent league in the country. 
Leagues like the United League could be considered lower than rookie
ball but that is a rare case.  Most
independent leagues hold a higher quality of baseball. 

 

And
while we are on the case of misconceptions, it grinds my gears when people
don’t distinguish Low-A ball, A ball, and High-A ball.  Most people are aware that they exist, but
just don’t distinguish them when writing or talking.  The difference between Class-A Short Season, and Class A Advanced
is huge.  Players who are in Class-A
Short Season generally are players that were drafted that same year out of
college.  Players in Class A and High A
are usually in their first or second full professional season. 

 

Man,
how did an entry that started out about Ryan Braun end up being about minor
league class level distinguishers?

 

Well,
while I’m discussing the Royals, I might as well give my take on the Coco Crisp/Ramon Ramirez
trade.  Do you want it simple?  I hate for KC, love it for Boston.  A little more analysis?  Dayton Moore has traded yet another great
and young reliever for another so-so position player that is just barley good
enough to be a starter. 

 

The
Royals’ bullpen will suffer big time, and as result will look like this:

 

Joakim Soria
(CL)

Robinson Tejeda

Ron Mahay (They
need to trade him NOW)

Doug Waechter

Chris
Hayes
(

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gotta
read this
post
)

Devon
Lowery

 

That’s
a really poor ‘pen, and it includes Ron Mahay who should be traded for
prospects in my opinion.  Plus, if you
noticed, those are only six pitchers. 
Who will the seventh be?  I don’t
know; maybe Jimmy
Gobble
(8.81 ERA), Joel
Peralta
(5.98), or possibly Matt
Wright
(5.47 ERA in AAA).  The
vastly over paid Kyle
Farnsworth
will be added in their if he passes his physical.  Maybe the strong 2008 Wilmington bullpen (Hartsock, Swaggerty, De La Vara
{who has been taken in the Rule 5 draft}, Holland, Nicoll) will
hold some answers to the Royals’ bullpen pains.  They just need more relievers. 

 

At
least the Royals have players to trade. 
Personally, if I took over the Royals right now I’d attempt to flip over
Mike Jacobs
and Coco Crisp to another team.  But
seeing how that won’t happen, the Royals probably are looking to trade Jose Guillen,
Mark Teahen,
and at least one of their young first basemen. 
I’ve enamored enough about Kila Ka’aihue
in this
post
, but if the Royals are keeping onto Jacobs then they can’t hold on to
both Ka’aihue and Butler.  One of them has to go.  Oh yeah, and there’s that guy who had 29
homers and a .363 OBP this year (111 G in AAA, 20 G in MLB), Ryan Shealy. 

 

Trading
Teahen and Guillen will be a tough task because there are no perfect fits.  Teahen makes sense for a team that has a
lack of depth at third base and right field.  The Mariners make the most sense, but that doesn’t mean much.  Even if they trade Ichiro and Adrian Beltre, they have Wladimir Balentien and Michael Wilson to join Franklin Gutierrez in the outfield, with Michael Saunders waiting in the wings.  It wouldn’t hurt young third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo to play another year at AAA in which case Teahen could play third base next year for the M’s, but it is obvious Seattle doesn’t need him. 

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teahen.jpg

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New reports are suggesting
that the Cubs are offering Mike Fontenot
and Sean
Marshall
for Teahen.  It’s just in
the rumor phase, but I really like it for both teams.  Fontenot would be more valuable to a club that can let him start
unlike the Cubs.  Marshall has never had
a consistent role with the Cubs even though he has proven he is a reliable,
steady pitcher.  Although I think
Marshall is more valuable as a starter, the Royals would love to have him in
the bullpen.  Their rotation is pretty
set anyways, with Zack Greinke,
Gil Meche, Brian
Bannister
, Kyle
Davies
, and Luke Hochevar.  Although if Bannister and Hochevar bring
their 2008 struggles into next season, they’ll probably find themselves in
Omaha.  I’m not sure Teahen is the type
of player the Cubs need in order to find that next level, but he is a young
affordable who may benefit from escaping a pitcher’s park like Kauffman
Stadium.  However, despite his injuries, Milton Bradley is the best fit for the Cubs, not Mark Teahen.

jose guillen.jpg

As far Jose Guillen, I
have know idea where he could go. 
People are saying the Mets are an option.  That could be true, but you could say any starting OF would be a
good fit for the Mets.  Guillen is not
that great of hitter, as he probably will never hit 30 home runs again, and
struggles to keep his OBP above .300. 
Dayton Moore may find a taker who is willing to give up a mid-level
prospect but Guillen isn’t the player that can turn a team around.  In fact, he has the ability to do the exact
opposite with his attitude and occasional fights with upper management. 


I feel bad for Royals fans, they have had dumb management, a lousy team, but at least they have one of the most underrated ballparks in the country:

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What Were You Thinking, Dayton?

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By
Dayton, I mean Dayton
Moore
, the GM of the Kansas City Royals. 
And by “what were you thinking?”, I was referring to the trade of first
baseman Mike
Jacobs
for right-handed reliever Leo Nunez with
the Florida Marlins. 


mike jacobs.jpg

It’s
not really that Nunez is that much better than Jacobs.  In fact, I’d rank their talent pretty much
even.  However, Mike Jacobs just doesn’t
fit all with the Royals team.  The
Royals are not a very good team, but the have one glaring strength: first-base
depth.  The Royals are stacked with
hard-hitting first basemen like Billy Butler,
Ryan Shealy,
and Kila
Ka’aihue
. 

 

The
Royals simply didn’t need Jacobs.  Although he
doesn’t deserve it, he will be the Royals starting first baseman next year.  That’s the worst part of this whole
deal.  This blocks Shealy, Butler, and
Ka’aihue from the major leagues or will at least force them into a reserve
role, which will be bad for their development. 

 

Ryan Shealy
had a great year in AAA, hitting 22 HR with a .376 OBP in only 400
at-bats.  Billy Butler
struggled in the bigs this year but is extremely young (23), and more
importantly, has been extremely good in the minors.  I still will continue to believe that Butler (below) will develop into one of the best pure hitters until he turns at least 25.

butler.jpg

Ka’aihue
is the most intriguing player in the KC first-base glut.  Kila (not to be confused with his brother Kala)
absolutely destroyed minor league pitching in both AA and AAA this past season,
and held his own in very limited at-bats with the Royals in September (21 at-bats,
.804 OPS).  But it’s those minor league
numbers that have you really wondering why the Royals felt they needed Mike
Jacobs.  Would you want a player
that had a .299 OBP in 2008 to be the reason that the guy who put up
the numbers below doesn’t get

to play?

(Yes, he does in fact hit with his eyes closed)

kaahiue.jpg

Level      G     
OBP      HR      RBI     
SLG      OPS

AA        
91     .463      26      
79       .624     1.086

AAA       33    
.439      11       21       .640     1.079

MLB      12     
.375      1          1        .429      .804

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In case, you would like to visualize Kila better, here’s
the video of his first ML homer.  He
almost has as sweet of a swing of Jacobs. 
Almost.  (If you watch the vid, notice that Billy Butler has fallen victim of the Bazooka Trick.)

 

This
is just one of those deals that
makes so little sense it actually makes you think that the Royals are in the
process of working on another trade that would include either Shealy, Ka’aihue
or Butler being dealt away.  A example
of this type of deal is the Randy Wolf-for-Chad Reineke trade at last year’s
deadline.  It made so little sense for
the Astros, I was convinced Houston was going to trade Wolf to another team
before the deadline ended.  It didn’t
happen.   Yet, it would not surprise me
to see Dayton Moore trade away at least one of the Royals remaining first
baseman.

And
since the Royals made this deal with the Marlins, it’s obvious that they were
not giving up some overpaid veteran for Jacobs.  No, the Royals had to sacrifice a bright, young, already
successful reliever in Leo Nunez.  He
had a 2.98 ERA in 45 games (all in relief), and he’s just 25 years old.  Nunez is a great pick-up for the Marlins,
and I agree that he was a guy they should have asked for from the Royals.  Still, when I heard of the likely probability of Jacobs being dealt, I sort of envisioned more in return than just a guy like Nunez.  If the Royals threw in a guy like

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Gilbert
de la Vara
I’d be a little more happy.  I think I may be overvaluing Jacobs a little becuase of his sweet swing, but what’s pretty is pretty, and when he connects it just looks nice.


leo nunez.jpg

 

Bottom Line

Talent
wise, this trade pretty much evens out for both clubs.  
It made sense for the Marlins to trade Jacobs, but I felt they could have
gotten a little more.  For the Royals though,
it was just completely unnecessary, and leads me to speculate Dayton Moore
is simultaneously working on another deal to trade away another first baseman
from his team.

 

Grades

Marlins –    B

Royals –     D+